Motoring costs have increased significantly in recent times, with insurance premiums soaring, along with vehicle-related repairs and the price of fuel.

Another cost that many drivers overlook is vehicle excise duty (VED), which is more commonly known as road tax. The cost you have to pay for it can be significant, amounting to hundreds and hundreds of pounds per year in some cases.

But that doesn’t have to be the case, as there are various cars that are free to tax. What makes a car have £0 tax depends on two things:

  • Cars registered before April 2017 with CO2 emissions of less than 100g/km of CO2
  • All electric cars are currently free to tax

However, this only remains the case temporarily as in April 2025, the government is introducing new measures that will mean all cars currently free to tax move up a band, and will cost £20 a year, albeit still a very low rate.

Best Used Cars with Free Road Tax

Cars with no road tax can come in all shapes and sizes, as well as with a range of fuel types. From diesel hatchbacks to hybrid SUVs, there are more cars that qualify for free road tax than you might expect.

Here we’re going to explore the broad range of models available, for a range of budgets and requirements.

1. Audi A1 (2010-2017)

Audi’s A1 has ruled the upper echelons of the small car segment ever since its introduction in 2010, with its premium interior and refined driving manners leading the way.

You might think that being an Audi means it’s expensive to run, but that’s not the case at all, with its efficient petrol and diesel engines helping bring bills down, and some even enabling £0 road tax. The engines to look out for are a 1.6-litre TDI diesel engine or the later 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine. Like all non-electric cars on this list, they need to be registered before April 2017 to still be free to tax.

Best Features

  • Visually appealing
  • Superb build quality for a small car
  • Refined driving manners

Things to consider

  • Servicing costs on the A1 will be more than other small cars
  • The A1 is a compact car with a tiny boot and minimal rear-seat space
  • Diesel models registered before September won’t be ULEZ compliant

2. BMW i3 (2013-2023)

BMW’s i3 was years ahead of its time when it launched as the firm’s first electric car back in 2013. Bringing futuristic styling inside and out, it’s no surprise that the German firm only recently discontinued it after 10 years production.

All electric models qualify for free car tax, and the majority of range-extender plug-in hybrid models do too. The i3 is a cracking used buy if you want a cool car that won’t cost a lot to run, while still bringing all of the refinement and quality typical from a BMW model.

Best Features

  • Cool and distinctive styling
  • Interior is made from range of sustainable materials
  • Sportier i3 S is available for those wanting something more fun to drive

Things to consider

  • A range-extender plug-in hybrid brought a small petrol engine to maximise the i3’s range
  • Early electric versions have a short real-world range
  • Serviceable items can be expensive because of the i3’s bespoke nature

3. Skoda Citigo (2012-2017)

When it comes to low running costs, often the best option is to choose a smaller car, and one of the best options is the Skoda Citigo. A sibling model to the Volkswagen Up! and Seat Mii, it offers great build quality mixed with great fuel economy and also – in some cases – free road tax.

But when it comes to free tax, you want to look out for a model called a ‘GreenTech’, which brought a range of efficiency improvements to lower the Citigo’s CO2 to get it under the threshold that, before April 2017, means it’s free to tax.

Best Features

  • Solid and well-built feel, especially for such a small car
  • Very low running costs, and great for new drivers
  • Roomier than you’d expect a small car to be

Things to consider

  • Small petrol engines aren’t very powerful, so compromised on higher-speed runs.
  • Only Greentech models are the ones that qualify for free tax
  • Entry-level versions can be a bit basic

4. Ford Mondeo (2015-2017)

The Ford Mondeo might not be one of the most desirable cars, but if you want a spacious family car for not a lot of money, it’s certainly worth a look. The latest generation Mondeo arrived in 2015, and if you want one with free road tax, it’ll need to be registered before April 2017.

There’s a choice of a 1.5- or 1.6-litre diesel available which bring the lower emissions that helps these be free to tax, as well as a hybrid but we’d avoid this model due to its poor driving experience.

Best Features

  • The Mondeo is a hugely spacious car
  • Great value for money
  • Generous equipment levels

Things to consider

  • Only the smaller-engine diesel and hybrid Mondeos can be free to tax
  • Choice of estate, hatchback and saloon variants available
  • Smaller engines can feel a bit underpowered in something the size of a Mondeo.

5. Toyota Yaris Hybrid (2012-2017)

Toyota’s widely known for its hybrid models, and these can often bring exceptional fuel economy and low CO2 emissions, with the latter helping to make them cheaper to tax.

It’s the smaller Yaris Hybrid that makes the most sense from an economy perspective, especially if you predominently use the car around town. Any example of this popular supermini registered before April 2017 will be free to tax too.

Best Features

  • Brilliant for around town
  • Scope for very low running costs
  • Exceptional reliability reputation

Things to consider

  • Used Yaris Hybrids are still quite expensive, though will hold their value well
  • Not the most interesting car to drive
  • Better suited to urban driving than at higher speeds

6. Nissan Qashqai (2014-2017)

The Nissan Qashqai is one of the most popular used cars around, with its high driving position and spacious interior making it ideal for families. Despite being a compact SUV, you can still get it with very low running costs too.

For £0 tax you need to look out for a Qashqai fitted with the 108bhp 1.5-litre diesel engine. Though not the most exciting car to drive, this offers great fuel economy, with its low CO2 emissions putting it in the no tax threshold. Again, make sure the Qashqai was registered before April 2017 to take advantage of this.

Best Features

  • Spacious interior
  • Ideal for families
  • Brilliant fuel economy from this diesel engine

Things to consider

  • Entry-level models don’t get the most equipment
  • Parking scuffs and damage are common on the Qashqai, so inspect a vehicle thoroughly
  • Models registered before September 2015 may not be ULEZ compliant

7. Volvo XC90 T8 (2016-2017)

Demonstrating the sheer range of vehicles that can be free to tax, we have the Volvo XC90. It’s Volvo’s flagship model, and one of the largest SUVs around, but if it’s equipped with the firm’s T8 plug-in hybrid powertrain, it can also be free to tax.

Courtesy of its combination of petrol and electric power, it produces 400bhp, while being able to travel for around 20 miles on electric when it’s been plugged in. Unlike lots of other hybrid SUVs, the XC90 still retains its impressive seven-seat practicality too.

Best Features

  • Hugely spacious
  • High-quality interior
  • Powerful with potential for low running costs

Things to consider

  • Only a fairly small window of XC90 T8s are free to tax between 2016 and April 2017.
  • Small real-world electric range won’t suit those doing lots of longer journeys
  • Make sure two charging cables come with the car when buying

8. Tesla Model 3 (2019-present)

Tesla has really helped to move along the electric car segment, and its Model 3 especially has made a significant impact. It’s been among the most popular EVs for several years, and used examples are now available for less than £20,000.

The Model 3 is great to drive, packed full of technology and even the cheapest models you’ll see for sale should be capable of 250 miles between charges, while having easy access to the Tesla’s dedicated network of EV chargers. Being electric, all used Model 3s are currently free to tax until the changes come into force in April 2025.

Best Features

  • Minimalistic and roomy cabin with a panoramic windscreen
  • Ample headroom in the rear
  • Agile and manoeuvrable steering feel

Things to consider

  • Some issues around build quality
  • All vehicle controls are done through the centre screen
  • Frequent software updates

9. Peugeot 108 (2014-2017)

Going back to the theme of smaller cars being best where low running costs are concerned, we land with the Peugeot 108. Powered by a small 1.0-litre petrol engine, it’s another great choice for new drivers courtesy of its more affordable insurance.

Another great thing about the 108 is that, as long as it was registered before April 2017, it’s guaranteed to sit in the lowest road tax band – even automatic models which typically have higher CO2.

Best Features

  • Low insurance groups make the 108 ideal for new drivers
  • Affordable running costs
  • Stylish design

Things to consider

  • The 108 is best-suited to urban driving rather than motorways
  • Entry-level models don’t come with much equipment
  • You could also get the 108 with a cool retractable canvas roof.

10. Citroen C4 Picasso (2014-2017)

If you want a car purely for spaciousness, it’s hard to beat an MPV. One of the best options is the Citroen C4 Picasso, which when equipped with a 1.6-litre turbodiesel engine, can be free to tax too, just as long as it’s registered before April 2017.

With a roomy and versatile interior, the C4 Picasso is a brilliant choice for families. You can even get it with seven seats if you opt for the Grand C4 Picasso instead, though these are harder to find if looking for one that’s free to tax.

Best Features

  • Spacious and versatile interior
  • Efficient diesel offers great fuel economy for a car of this type
  • Comfortable and easy to drive

Things to consider

  • Automatic gearbox is known for being problematic
  • Build quality isn’t the best
  • The Grand C4 Picasso is quite a large car, so make sure it’s not too big for your needs

Why should you buy a car with £0 road tax

Road tax is one of those car running costs that’s often forgotten about, but it can be quite a significant sum of money to fork out each year, especially if you choose to pay it in one lump sum.

By choosing a used car that has £0 road tax, it’s one less cost you have to think about. It’s worth noting that you still have to notify the DVLA and physically tax the car, you just don’t need to pay any money when you do.

What should you consider when buying a car with no road tax?

As we’ve mentioned, free road tax is something that will only last until April 2025, though even then, all cars currently qualifying for £0 road tax will move into band B, meaning you’ll still only have to pay £20 a year.

As we’ve mentioned, all electric cars (regardless of age) are currently free to tax, and then the same applies to vehicles registered March 2001 and March 2017 when they emit up to 100g/km CO2, which is regardless of fuel type.

That’s because in April 2017 the rules changed to make road tax a standardised fee of £180 per year for petrol and diesel vehicles, or £170 for hybrid models, regardless of CO2 emissions.

There are a number of consuderations to think about, as explained below.

Fuel Type

Firstly you need to think about the type of fuel type you want the car to have – whether that’s petrol, diesel, hybrid, plug-in hybrid or electric. There are plenty of models within all of those fuel types. Electric and hybrid options are best for those doing driving around town, diesel is preferable for motorists doing lots of longer journeys and especially on motorways, while petrol cars are good if you do a strong mix of varied driving.

Type of vehicle

Free road tax is available on all kinds of vehicles, so it’s worth thinking about the type of vehicle to suit your needs. From smaller hatchbacks through to larger MPVs and SUVs that are a better option for families.